This is turning into Microsoft week ...and now the biggest news of all, Bill Gates is going to take a further step back from day-to-day operations at Microsoft in order to focus more on his charitable foundation.
From the official press release:
REDMOND, Wash. — June 15, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that effective July 2008 Bill Gates, chairman, will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The company announced a two-year transition process to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates’ daily responsibilities, and said that after July 2008 Gates would continue to serve as the company’s chairman and an advisor on key development projects.
The company announced that Chief Technical Officer Ray Ozzie will immediately assume the title of chief software architect and begin working side by side with Gates on all technical architecture and product oversight responsibilities, to ensure a smooth transition. Similarly, Chief Technical Officer Craig Mundie will immediately take the new title of chief research and strategy officer and will work closely with Gates to assume his responsibility for the company’s research and incubation efforts; Mundie also will partner with general counsel Brad Smith to guide Microsoft’s intellectual property and technology policy efforts.
“Our business and technical leadership has never been stronger, and Microsoft is well-positioned for success in the years ahead. I feel very fortunate to have such great technical leaders like Ray and Craig at the company,” Gates said. “I remain fully committed and full time at Microsoft through June 2008 and will be working side by side with Ray and Craig to ensure that a smooth transition occurs.”
My initial thoughts...
1) It's always good from a corporate governance perspective to have a transition plan in place with a long enough time horizon to make adjustments as needed
2) I've been openly excited about Ray Ozzie's presence at Microsoft and the new directions he's evangelizing; this is obviously a further admission by Gates that Ozzie's vision (made famous in the Ozzie memo) is the right one
3) Bill Gates is iconic, and having him step away from Microsoft, even if it's two years from now, is not something to be taken lightly. Some, no doubt, had hoped Bill would get MORE involved as the company embarks on a very important transition to compete more effectively in the Internet-driven era
This is the kind of story that's going to be dissected in every blog, news service and conventional media outlet over the coming days. I'll reserve judgment on what this ultimately means for the company; but am very much looking forward to the analysis we're sure to see at meme and elsewhere.
- Scoble should leave the securities analysis to the pros
- TechEd: Lobi and Office Systems Unveiled
- Scoble Leaving Microsoft
- Microsoft, Don't Forget Where Your Bread is Buttered
- Duet: The Captain and Tenille of Enterprise Computing?
- My Reaction to Tonight's Microsoft Earnings
- Scoble on What Ails Microsoft
- Ray Ozzie in Fortune
- Is Microsoft (finally) Ready to Battle RIM?
- Google Buys Writely
- Vista Versions Unveiled
- Don't Look Now...Microsoft Hits a 52-Week High
- Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE)...Ozzie making his mark at Microsoft
- Ray Ozzie Interviewed
Note: At the time of this writing I, and/or funds I maintain discretionary control over, maintained a long equity position in MSFT.